Miss Burlesque New South Wales 2019 | Porcelain Alice
The Freakshow Folié and supermodel of Sydney burlesque, Porcelain Alice is one statuesque beauty that eats burlesque for breakfast. Twisting modern liberties with a truly artisanal aesthetic, Porcelain one of the most in-demand showgirls on high rotation on the Sydney circuit. When she’s not on the stage, or behind the microphone, she’s the brains behind some of Sydney’s most loved and renowned shows including UpLate and Uncut (with Memphis Mae), The Oyster Club (with Marlena Dali) and Wanted and Wild with co-producer and newly crowned Miss Burlesque Sydney, Diesel Darling.
Porcelain Alice not only flirts with danger, but has a dead-set delectable bag of spooky sideshow tricks from bed of nails, to crunching on glass, fire-eating and flame manipulation across her namesake porcelain skin.
Jetsetting doesn’t even begin to describe Alice’s adventures – she has performed internationally in LA, the UK and Singapore, as well as interstate at Adelaide Fringe (2017), as part of After Hours Cabaret Club (MELB), The Deco Dolls (ADL) and The Forgotten Follies (ADL). She’s no stranger to circus tents and dusty floors and has danced at Secret Garden Festival (2018), Winter Magic Festival (2017) and toured up the coast to headline The Townsville Cultural Festival (2016). She also curated and performed the two week run of Sideshow Alley for Spectrum Now Festival (2016).
As a model and performer, Alice has featured as part of brand activations for Jagermiester (2018), Olympus Australia (2017), Wheels and Dollbaby (2016), Hendricks Gin (2016) and Sailor Jerrys (2014).
Porcelain has prowled across the grand stages of The Star Casino, Slide, Hyde Park Barracks for
Sydney Living Museums and Tatler Sydney, just to name a few. She’s a regular up late staple on the Sydney nightlife scene at events such Hellfire, Unicorns (SYD & MELB), Girlthing and Up Late and Uncut (2016 – 2019).
Alyssa Kitt caught up with Porcelain Alice to talk about being caught by surprise… with no shoes on.
You’ve done so much for the Sydney burlesque community as a producer (of how many shows now) and as a teacher at Sky Sirens. What does winning Miss Burlesque New South Wales mean to you?
Yes! I co-produce multiple monthly shows and book/curate for venues across Sydney too. I have taught burlesque at Sky Sirens for a few years, so I guess you could say I eat burlesque for breakfast. Being Miss Burlesque NSW feels like a sparkly recognition of my years of hard work that I have put to developing myself and this industry.
NSW was perhaps the most intimidating lineup of performers that I’d ever see. It was such a huge state to win – you must be so over the moon!!! Tell me, how did it feel when that crown was placed on your head?
I felt overwhelmed. I had no shoes on when they called my name, because I had settled in side of stage after curtain call to enjoy a wine and cheer on my friends and colleagues. I work with so many of those performers weekly and I admire them so much. I felt genuinely shocked.
This is your second time competing in Miss Burlesque New South Wales. Now, I know you didn’t have a great first experience – tell me, what made you want to enter in 2019?
I trusted the state producers and I had nothing to prove.
I made it through the NSW semi-final and pulled out before the NSW finals for family reasons years ago. However regardless of those family issues, I was not of industry standard or ready to compete. I was a hobbyist performing at community events. I entered looking to prove myself to others and that was not the right reason to do MBA.
You’d been so busy travelling with your crazy touring schedule – how did you squeeze in your competition preparation and making one (wait, two?) new acts? What did your game plan look like?
I had big dreams for my acts, but and I also set clear parameters.
I wanted to stay true to my brand and budget. I wanted to showcase my aesthetic and love of sideshow but my acts had to fit in a tour suitcase easily.
With such clear markers of what the act could be, it was manageable to tick off small tasks each week and not stray from the vision.
Describe your traditional for me.
The traditional section was the part of the night I was most excited for. I am always driven by vintage aesthetic and dreamt of huge pieces of material being used to create the main element of my tease. It was inspired by deco shapes, the fragility of a butterfly and the feminist icons of burlesque stages and old hollywood films I research and stare at daily.
You’re a real grand aestheticist – where did you draw your inspiration from for your traditional routine?
Both my traditional and unique aesthetic were informed – as all my costumes are – by catwalks, deco-shapes, classic lingerie and glamorous old hollywood starlets – calmed down by my budget – and informed by second hand treasures I can access in the timeframe of creation. I try to use a significant amount of second hand elements because I don’t want my art form to be endlessly wasteful.
You drew from your background performing in sideshow for your unique. Can you describe the act to me.
Sideshow is by nature a little spooky (and gross) and as my aesthetic juxtaposes this I wanted to move through both sensual and eery in the act. The idea was to play out a ‘nightmare/ dreamscape’. The time just before sleep. The music – edited by champion Michael Wheatley – highlights how time slows, speeds up and is altered by the dark. Stapling the strings of stars to my body used elegant vintage follies imagery to juxtapose the dangerous act of stapling into my skin.
How are you going to prepare for the Grand Final?
I am my own worst critic so as soon as I left the stage on the night I wrote a list of things I needed to change about both my acts on my phone. I will use the finals as a deadline to have these issues (hopefully) resolved.
Did you enjoy your MBA Journey in the State Finals?
I opted to prepare for the night as I do for any stage show. I didn’t focus on the competition elements of the event – i.e. I didn’t look at the judging criteria etc. Instead I focused on making two acts to represent Porcelain Alice. That meant it was a process I recognised and could manage which was an enjoyable creative process.
Outside of just bloody winning Miss Burlesque NSW, what have some of your other career highlights been?
I’m so grateful Porcelain Alice is my job, all audiences I get to perform for feel like highlights. But of course big events like performing in Los Angeles alongside some of my internet idols in 2017 was surreal. Performing for 500 people in the UK with Death Do Us Part at a Halloween gig was pretty wild and I guess riding a full size carousel and then fan dancing for an intimate 14 person swingers dinner is something I’ll never forget.
What’s your overall style of burlesque – where’s your comfy place on stage?
While its not common, improvisation is my comfortable place. Knowing a song inside out but using the crowd and the space to inform the performance is where I am most comfortable and happy.
Alyssa Kitt: The first time I met Porcelain Alice was at the ArtHouse for Dr Sketchy’s in 2014. I was struck not only by her astounding beauty but also by her down-to-earth, keep-it-real personality, with a hold-no-prisoners, aim-for-the-stars kind of attitude. She’s one lady that takes on fearlessly whatever she puts her mind to and one that I’ve had great pleasure working with over the years. I’m so thrilled to see her representing New South Wales on the Miss Burlesque Australia Grand Final Astor Theatre stage on 24th August.